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What’s an insurance company settlement day?

September 4, 2014 by Steven M. Gursten

Periodically, there’s something that automobile accident lawyers and now, workers compensation lawyers see called a “settlement day.” This practice started in Michigan about a decade ago, and it’s becoming more common. If you have a pending auto accident or workers compensation claim in Michigan, you may one day get a letter or notice asking you to attend a “settlement day.”

But what is it? A settlement day is a day that’s usually designated several months in advance by an insurance company. The goal is to try to round up as many lawyers and pending accident claims and litigated cases as possible and try and settle as many cases as they can. The insurance company wants to get as many of these cases off their books as they can. It frees the reserves that have been set, and allows the insurance company to do two things at once:

  1. Settle a lot of cases, usually at a discount to what they might actually be worth.
  2. Take the money being held as reserves for all of these cases and invest it in something much more profitable for the insurance company (such as the stock market).

Settlement days aren’t always for insurance companies. Recently, I was called by a Wayne County attorney requesting my attendance at a Wayne County settlement day. It is actually a smart move, as they are leveraging the uncertainty of the Detroit bankruptcy litigation to see if they could settle as many outstanding personal injury cases as possible at substantial discounts to real value.

Nevertheless, the general concept holds forth as follows: As many the plaintiff lawyers as they can get to come in for a day, meeting with the defense lawyers and people who hold the pocketbooks for the insurance company. Sometimes, even a judge or respected facilitator will be on hand to work on an expedited settlement with the parties.

Although settlement days began with insurance companies trying to move auto accident cases off their books, in recent years it’s become a more common practice for workers compensation cases, especially in Michigan.

Settlement days can be great option for people who want to move on with their lives quickly after an accident that causes injury. It allows an individual to seek medical treatment on their own terms or get retrained for a new career, if they’re able. They can sometimes shave years of waiting off the litigation process, and depending on the case, save on thousands of dollars in case costs that they will now no longer have to spend in litigation. So settlement days have advantages as well.

But how do you know if you’ve reached a fair settlement?

Take a look at this great workers compensation law blog for more information on how you know if you’ve reached a fair settlement. This blog post looks at each of the factors that can affect your settlement amount.

Remember, if you have an experienced attorney on your side, attending a settlement day can sometimes be advantageous. After all, if you don’t like the amount of money the insurance company is offering to settle your case, you can always say no and walk away.

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